Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Colin Powell to Endorse Presidential Candidate?; Presidential Temperament; Should Jeremiah Wright be Fair Game?; What Would Washington Look Like with Obama Presidency?; Ten Most Wanted Culprits of the Collapse: Angelo Mozilo

Aired October 17, 2008 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, it is getting hot on the trail, 18 days until the election, Barack Obama, John McCain trading shots, a far cry from last night, when they were trading jokes and sharing laughs.
Today, each candidate reverting to type, the Republican saying the Democrat is going to raise your taxes, the Democrats warning, the Republican will cut your Medicare.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: When politicians talk about taking your money and spreading it around, you better hold on to your wallet.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Eight hundred and eighty-two billion dollars worth. Eight hundred and eighty-two billion dollars in Medicare cuts to pay for an ill-conceived, badly-thought-through health care plan that won't provide more health care to people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That wasn't the only heat. A war of words erupting between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. Palin last night implying that some parts of this country aren't pro-America. Biden today using that comment to hammer Palin and John McCain.

360's Gary Tuchman is on the trail -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're here in Mesilla, New Mexico, Anderson.

There were hundreds are people here at a Joe Biden rally, and Joe Biden did something at his rally today he hasn't been doing very much, directly criticizing Sarah Palin, criticizing a comment she made at a fund-raiser last night in North Carolina.

Listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PALIN: We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call real America, being here with all of you hardworking, very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation.

This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans, those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us, those who are protecting us in uniform, those who are protecting the virtues of freedom.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

TUCHMAN: Well, Joe Biden, at this rally today here in Mesilla said he felt that Sarah Palin was implying that Democrats aren't as patriotic as Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Folks, it doesn't matter where you live. We all love this country. And I hope it gets through. We all love this country.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUCHMAN: Well, Sarah Palin today was talking to reporters on her campaign plane. It's been very rare that Sarah Palin has done any kind of conversations with reporters. She did today on her campaign plane. And she was asked about the statement, and she clarified it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN: Every area, every area across this great country where we're stopping and where also the other ticket is stopping and getting to speak at these rallies and speak with the good Americans. But it's all pro-America.

I was just reinforcing the fact that there, where I was, these good, patriotic people there in these rallies, so excited about positive change and reform of government that's coming, that they are so appreciative of hearing our message, hearing our plan, but not -- not hinting one area of America is more pro-America or patriotic than another.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: OK, clearly, she's backtracking from whatever she said, or trying to clarify.

What did Joe Biden have to say about her comments?

TUCHMAN: Well, here's what's interesting, Anderson, that her comment on the plane came almost the same exact moment that his comments came behind me here.

So, I got a chance to talk to Joe Biden today. He didn't know what she said. And I told him what she said.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCHMAN: Sarah Palin did talk to reporters today, though, and she clarified her remarks...

BIDEN: Good.

TUCHMAN: ... saying that you get pro-America crowds, too, you and Obama. And she -- her exact quote -- actually, her exact quote -- let me just tell what her exact quote was.

She goes, "Not any one area of America is more pro-America, patriotically than others."

BIDEN: She's right. Every crowd we get is pro-American. Every crowd she gets is pro-American.

TUCHMAN: So, do you take that as an apology from her?

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Oh, I just -- it's a clarification I accept.

I'm glad to hear that everybody knows that, look, as I said today, I have not been in a state where people haven't sent their children to die for America, where they haven't sent their children to serve America. And the idea that somehow one part of the country is better at it than others, I -- but she clarified it. I accept the clarification.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, we will see if the -- the argument on this is over.

You have been now at Palin rallies. You were at this Biden rally today. The clock is ticking down. Do you sense the pressure at these rallies?

TUCHMAN: It's really interesting, Anderson.

These two, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, their rallies are so remarkably different. I mean, here in New Mexico, at the Joe Biden rally, there was a lot of excitement today. But, when you go to Palin rallies, far more excitement, far more passion, far more electricity, but also more anxiety and quite a bit of anger because of where the polls are right now.

COOPER: All right, Gary Tuchman, thanks.

So, is this the end to the vice presidential fireworks? Don't bet on it. With a race this close, every advantage is being used, every comment commented on, and the candidates are fighting it out in battleground states that haven't seen this kind of action in decade. Virginia, red since 1964, is in play. Florida, which appeared to be safely red until a few weeks ago, very much in play.

Candy Crowley has the "Raw Politics."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can see it in the size of the crowds and hear it in the urgent voices of the candidates.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Fight for what is right for America.

OBAMA: I need you to stand up.

CROWLEY: Eighteen more days until the election.

OBAMA: I'm sure Virginia is ready for change.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWLEY: Looking to turn a reliably Republican state into a newly Democratic one, Barack Obama campaigned in Roanoke, a conservative patch of Virginia, where he courted the only age group favoring John McCain, seniors. Obama charged that McCain pays for his health care plan with a 20 percent cut in Medicare.

OBAMA: It would mean fewer places to get care and less freedom to choose your own doctors. You will pay more for your drugs. You will receive fewer services. You will get lower-quality care.

CROWLEY: Obama's figures come from an analysis by a liberal group. And there's no evidence McCain would cut Medicare benefits.

In a statement, the McCain campaign said, Obama is "simply lying."

MCCAIN: Jose El Plomero. We're going to fight for Joe.

CROWLEY: In Miami, with its sizable Cuban American population, John McCain promised not to talk to Castro, while he continued to talk about Joe the plumber, who has begun to catch on with Republicans.

MCCAIN: Senator Obama says that he wanted to spread your wealth around.

(AUDIENCE BOOING) MCCAIN: All he had to do to say to Joe the Plumber and millions of small business people around this country, I won't raise your taxes. But he couldn't do that because he's going to raise your taxes.

CROWLEY: Obama says he will only raise taxes on people making over $250,000 a year. That includes some, but not most, small businesses.

Off the campaign trail, Democrats are crying foul over McCain robocalls ringing into at least six states.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC, because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Even some Republicans worry, this is not the best way to win friends and influence voters. Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, up for reelection, asked McCain to stop.

The campaign, via Sarah Palin, is also continuing to press the issue of ACORN, a group under investigation in several swing states for alleged voter registration fraud.

PALIN: John and I are calling on the Obama campaign to release communications it's had with this group, and to do so immediately.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWLEY: The Obama campaign, which did pay an affiliate of ACORN to help get out their primary vote, is pushing back.

Chief counsel Bob Bauer suspects Republicans are behind the allegations, suggesting -- quote -- "an unholy alliance of law enforcement and the ugliest form of partisan politics." He wants an investigation.

McCain aides call the charge outrageous -- all in a day's campaign.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Wanted to know -- we want to know what you think of the campaigning. Erica Hill and I are going to blogging throughout the hour. Join the conversation at AC360.com.

And, also, check out Erica Hill's live Webcast during the break. She's already started.

Coming up: more from Sarah Palin's rare talk with reporters today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN: If I felt that I was not ready, I would never have said, yes, I want to take on this responsibility, this -- this challenge, this opportunity to run for vice president as a partner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Palin also talked about Reverend Wright, when asked, and their strategy in the coming days.

COOPER: Also, we will look at Obama's and McCain's temperament. How do they handle pressure? And what does it say about their performance in the White House? Surprising revelations about past presidents and how different they were from their public image.

And we name another name to our list of the 10 most wanted culprits of the collapse. Who is tonight's addition? Well, here's a hint. He had a golden tan, a golden touch, and a way of getting powerful lawmakers to do his bidding. And he's costing you a lot of money -- his name and his story and how much he's costing you ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that Obama doesn't see America the way you and I see America.

Do you think Obama loves America as much as you do?

PALIN: I know Obama loves America. And I'm sure that's why he's running for president, is because he wants to do what he believes is in the best interests of this great nation. I don't question at all Barack Obama's love for this great country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Sarah Palin today actually taking some questions aboard the campaign plane. She says she doesn't question Barack Obama's love of America, though she has said he pals around with terrorists in the past.

Let's talk strategy now with CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, CNN contributor and GOP strategist Bay Buchanan, who supports John McCain, and Obama supporter and Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons.

David, what do you make of where the race is now, I mean, with 18, almost 17 days left to go?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Barack Obama is in a commanding position. There are tracking polls which do show a tightening. It's interesting. Gallup actually now takes two polls. They have one poll which people, by -- based on their history of who votes, they show a two-point race. But, then, when they include people who say they're going to vote this year for the first time, a lot of these new, young, or minority voters, then Obama has a six-point lead. So...

COOPER: And, even with our CNN poll of polls, there is a two- point tightening between these two men.

GERGEN: Yes, there's a little tightening now that is going on. So, that's good news for John McCain.

COOPER: Does that mean that these -- you know, these attacks, these -- these, "Who is Barack Obama?" these robocalls that we have been hearing about, is this working?

GERGEN: I don't think we know that for sure, but, obviously, there's a correlation. We don't know if there's causation. We don't know if one -- or people are having some second thoughts about Obama, or there's a natural return of people to the Republican side.

I mean, we always thought there was going to be some closing. But the fact that the candidates are both campaigning in essentially Bush states, in red states, means that both campaigns think that McCain is in trouble and he's on the defense. So, the campaigns don't show the same kind of thing that we're seeing in the polls.

I also think, Anderson, any day that goes by with McCain in which he doesn't dominate the news and advance the story is not a good day for him. This was a pretty quiet the day, all things considered.

COOPER: Bay Buchanan, I mean, do you take heart in -- in this little tightening in some of these polls?

BAY BUCHANAN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You're absolutely right, Anderson. I sure do.

I have been watching it now for over a week. It's not as much as I would like, but we have got two more weeks. If it remains this steady, this thing could be turned around.

I think what would happen is, if it really started to close even more significantly than it has, there will be so much talk about it and -- and focus on that, that I think it will encourage and energize Republicans. Independents will see that maybe John McCain can do it. I think it would help him enormously.

COOPER: So -- so, what do you think is working, Bay, I mean, if -- if...

BUCHANAN: Well, you know, you have got to remember why -- why McCain -- Obama is ahead. It's not because of this terrific campaign he ran, his personality, his issues. It's because of the collapse of the economic system. And I think people got so teed off at the bailout and all that's happened in the financial world, that they just rejected Republicans outright. And now I think they're settling in and saying, all right, I was really teed off, and I'm still teed off, but do I want to go so far as to vote somebody far to the left of my policies?

And -- and that's the big question. Will they kind of come back to a more moderate position, which would be John McCain?

COOPER: Jamal Simmons, are you concerned? Do you see a tightening?

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think there probably is a tightening.

The reality is, American elections are built to be close. There's typically a two-, three-, four-point race at the most, not a six- or seven-point race. And, in fact, if you think about Democrats, a Democrat hasn't gotten more than 50 percent of the vote in a national election for president since 1976. That was Jimmy Carter, who got 50.8 percent after Watergate and Vietnam and -- and, you know, the pardoning of a president by Gerald Ford. He got 50.8 percent.

So, we have always expected -- the Obama campaign has always expected this was going to be a close race. And, if you look at the Electoral College a, David said earlier, that's really where the magic is here. They are playing almost exclusively on a red battlefield. And that's going to be very beneficial in the long run.

COOPER: You agree with that, David?

GERGEN: I do. I do. I think that, the more the campaign is conducted in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio, the more it looks like all Obama has to do probably is win one of those four.

COOPER: Peggy -- sorry -- Bay, I want to read something that Peggy Noonan wrote today. After watching Palin for seven weeks, she says that there's little sign that she's basically qualified.

She says: "In the end, the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It's no good, not for conservatism, and not for the country. And, yes, it is a mark against John McCain, against his judgment and idealism."

I mean, her piece was brutal on Sarah Palin, from a very well- respected conservative. Has Palin hurt McCain?

BUCHANAN: Oh, absolutely not.

Palin may be one of the smartest vice presidential nominees in our history, I mean, certainly in my lifetime.

COOPER: Wait a minute. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: You just said that...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: I mean, no, the question was to me.

But look at what she's accomplished. I don't know any other vice presidential nominees that came on a ticket and really resurrected the ticket by herself, single-handedly.

COOPER: Wait. Did you say she may be one of the most -- the smartest vice presidential nominees or the smartest choices?

BUCHANAN: One of the smartest choices for the nomination of vice president, absolutely. That's what I meant.

And it's clear that's the case. She has really -- really, overnight, energized the party. Everybody agrees the Republicans are completely in line with McCain now. They were not just a month or so ago. And -- and what she's done several times -- in the debate, she held her own. She's appealed to -- to an interesting group.

COOPER: OK.

BUCHANAN: She had 70 million people watch her debate. And that was because of Sarah Palin.

SIMMONS: Anderson?

COOPER: Jamal.

SIMMONS: Anderson, you know, Sarah Palin may be very smart on the inside, but we haven't quite seen her exhibit that in her public demeanor and how it is she's been campaigning.

This is a woman, she has already had to come and back off a statement again today. She has done this -- she went out and said that Barack Obama was palling around with terrorists, even though he was 8 years old when this guy, Bill Ayers, was doing what he was doing. And he's been repudiated.

We need -- I think Americans felt like John McCain's whole campaign was sort of undermined by the choice of Sarah Palin, that he lost this notion of experience. He lost this notion of the steady hand. And that's the thing, I think, that really is hurting him.

COOPER: OK. From a nonpartisan perspective, David, I mean, clearly, she has energized a core conservative base, but she has certainly also energized Democrats against her and McCain. And, clearly, now it seems like conservatives -- I mean, some conservatives, some Peggy Noonan and others, kind of rethinking.

GERGEN: I agree with that. I think that Bay Buchanan is absolutely right. She did enormous good for John McCain early on.

But, increasingly, her positives are going down. Her negatives are going up. They're higher than her positives now. And she is rallying other people outside of the base of the Republican Party to support Obama. And they think that she's a very risky choice.

(CROSSTALK)

GERGEN: And, so, you know, from that point of view -- and, also, I have been surprised by the number of conservative columnists now, George Will and Peggy Noonan, and David Brooks today in "The New York Times," talking about Obama's temperament, how well-suited he was, and how impressed he was.

There are a number of conservative intellectuals who have really come the other way. It's been quite, quite interesting.

BUCHANAN: You -- you hit it on the nose, intellectuals.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Very briefly, though. We have got to go.

BUCHANAN: Intellectuals. They aren't the ones that are in there and fighting for our causes.

SIMMONS: Down with the smart people.

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN: You know, those who are really about this Republican Party and about the conservative cause, they are...

COOPER: Intellectual is a dirty word now?

BUCHANAN: ... fully behind Palin, fully, fully behind Palin.

COOPER: All right.

BUCHANAN: And to suggest her -- her ratings are up, her negatives, that's her job. She's the attack dog, for heaven's sakes.

COOPER: We're going to have more from our panel coming up.

Up next: The congressman who got elected talking about family values, guess what? His family values seem to include adultery. Is anyone even surprised by this anymore?

Later: Sarah Palin talking about not talking about the pastor who John McCain doesn't talk about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ask John McCain to bring up Reverend Wright more on the stump? And what was his response, if you did?

PALIN: No, I have not asked him to bring it up. You know, it's up to him, you know, in what he chooses to discuss.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: And see what's moving the market now, sending investors on another terrifying up-and-down ride today -- that and more when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: More politics ahead -- word Colin Powell may make some sort of an endorsement this weekend. We will tell you who he may endorse and why.

First, Erica Hill joins us with a 360 news and business bulletin.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the U.S. Supreme Court today blocked a lower court order requiring Ohio's secretary of state to provide lists of new voters whose registration information doesn't match records in other government databases. The court found, the Ohio Republican Party did not have standing to file that suit. But, then hours later, a registered Republican voter renewed the battle by filing his own legal challenge.

Congressman Tim Mahoney of Florida admits he had at least two affairs, but says he broke no laws and will not resign. He is in a tight reelection battle now, as the FBI investigates whether he doled out jobs or other favors to those two women.

And, on Wall Street today, the Dow giving up 127 points, after another day of big swings. Both the Nasdaq and support also fell slightly. But, for the week, all three major indices are up about 4 percent.

And you really need to be hungry for this one. Say hello to the Beer Barrel Belly Bruise, the heart attack in a bun.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: It weighs more than 20 pounds, including 15 pounds of beef. This man ate all of it as part of a pub contest in Pittsburgh. It took him four hours 39 minutes. He got 400 bucks, and, Anderson, as he said, a burger hangover.

COOPER: What is it? It's a burger?

HILL: It's a burger, 15 pounds of meat, you know, lettuce, tomato, some mild banana peppers to round it out.

COOPER: Oy.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Wow.

HILL: I don't think so.

COOPER: All right.

Here's tonight's "Beat 360" photo: John McCain, Barack Obama sharing some laughs at last night's Alfred E. Smith Dinner. That's New York Cardinal Edward Egan right between there.

Here is the caption from our staffer winner, Joey, of course.

HILL: I can't believe Joey won.

COOPER: He wins -- he wins it every night.

HILL: It's amazing.

COOPER: "After one too many bad jokes, Cardinal Egan suddenly longs for the separation of church and state."

HILL: And that's why Joey wins.

COOPER: That's why Joey wins.

Think you can do better? Go to AC360.com. Click on the link. Send us your entry. We will announce the winner at the end of the program. The winner, of course, gets the "Beat 360" T-shirt, much coveted.

HILL: Mmm.

COOPER: Coming up: the temperament of Obama and McCain, how are they different? History has shown the candidate you vote for is rarely the same in office. We will explain ahead.

And, later, our 10 most wanted culprits of the collapse -- find out whose name is being added to the list tonight and how much this guy is costing you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: ... who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy, the same front outfit organization...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Barack Obama giving reaction there.

The final presidential debate gave voters another chance to see Obama and McCain side by side. And the contrast was striking. No matter who you support, it's pretty clear their styles and personalities are practically opposites.

With just 18 days to go, and both men under incredible pressure, we're wondering how the candidates' temperaments are playing with voters.

Up close, here's Ed Henry.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(APPLAUSE)

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They could not have been more different in the final debate, John McCain relentlessly dishing out rapid-fire charges, while Barack Obama was killing him with calmness.

MCCAIN: We're not going to do that in my administration.

OBAMA: If I can answer the question. Number one, I want to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans.

HENRY: McCain, who has a reputation for Senate temper tantrums, played into Democratic charges that he's erratic by abruptly rushing back to Washington to deal with the financial crisis.

MCCAIN: I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington.

HENRY: In contrast, Obama has won high marks for appearing unflappable through the crisis.

But a new "TIME" magazine cover story notes, the temperament voters perceive in a politician is not always what they actually get when a candidate makes it to the Oval Office.

RICHARD STENGEL, MANAGING EDITOR, "TIME": One of the examples was John Kennedy, who also seemed cool and unruffled. And the historians said that, actually, when he was in office, he was often hot-tempered and fiery, and, except for the Cuban Missile Crisis, he often lost it sometimes.

HENRY: As a candidate, Ronald Reagan faced Democratic charges he was dangerous and too rigid a conservative. And, yet, he was an effective president in part by reaching across the aisle to work with liberal Democratic Speaker Tip O'Neill.

MCCAIN: Senator Obama wants government to do the job.

HENRY: To his supporters, McCain's feistiness shows he's ready to take charge in a crisis, though all the eye-rolling suggests that, as president, he may not always listen to contrarian views.

Obama's deliberate style might help him build consensus as president. And, yet, even some Democrats worried this summer that he just didn't have enough fire in the belly.

STENGEL: Temperament, ultimately, is in the eye of the beholder. Is it impulsive, or is it decisive? Is it angry, or is it determined? I think, when people are watching the candidate, they make that determination themselves.

HENRY (on camera): In the end, it's a gut check with voters about how a candidate's personality may have a major impact on how they eventually govern.

Ed Henry, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BECK: One is fair game says the McCain campaign. The other off limits. Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright. Sarah Palin talked about Wright today. We'll show you what she said.

And it's not just a presidency at stake this November. Longtime Washington Republicans like Elizabeth Dole, John Sununu, are suddenly fighting for their political lives with their Senate seats in jeopardy. What would it mean if the Democrats won the House and the Senate and the White House? Joe Johns takes a look.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn't Reverend Wright a lot more irrelevant than Bill Ayers? I mean, he's not...

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: To John McCain's side, it does. He sat for 20 years and heard Reverend Wright say things that I think most people would find a bit concerning. But again, that's John McCain's problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Governor Sarah Palin on her plane today, actually answering some questions about -- from reporters, one of them about Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Palin says she hasn't brought up Barack Obama's former pastor with John McCain. McCain has made it clear the Wright topic is off limits.

Some Republicans are all but pleading with him to bring it up, saying Obama's association with Wright is fair game and perhaps a big chance to turn the campaign around.

Let's talk more about that and others in a strategy session. With me again, CNN senior political analyst and former presidential advisor David Gergen; Republican strategist, former senior advisor to Mitt Romney, Bay Buchanan, who supports John McCain; and Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons, who's also an advisor to the Democratic National Committee and supports Barack Obama.

So Bay, given that Obama's relationship with Wright is more established than Ayers, should Wright be off limits?

BAY BUCHANAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don't think Wright should be off limits. No, I think it's very legitimate. It goes to character. It goes to who is Barack Obama? American people have a right to have some better feeling of this, since he is so new to the political scene. And so, yes, it's a very legitimate issue, and I think it should be playing out there.

COOPER: So by the same token, then, is Sarah Palin's, you know, church a legitimate issue or her involvement with -- you know, her speaking to the Alaska Independence Party?

BUCHANAN: Sure. It's been raised, and she's explained it. And if the Democrats want to say more about it, fine.

Let me -- and I ask you, Anderson, and the other panelists, if indeed John McCain had gone to David Duke's home for a fundraiser a year ago, do you think that would be out there as a key issue? The press would be all over it. These are legitimate. It goes to your judgment, who you are, who you associate with. Basically says -- gives some indication of who you are yourself.

COOPER: Jamal, I'll let you take that question. Obviously, the comparison between David Duke and Reverend Wright is probably something you'll take issue with.

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I'm not going to get into this comparing and contrasting David Duke and Reverend Wright. But I will say this. I think if we found out, like we did -- it pains me to say this. but perhaps Hillary Clinton did Barack Obama a favor in the primary by pulling this Band-Aid off of this wound and exposing it so that it could heal a little bit by the time we got to the fall.

But if we had just found out about this, I would imagine the press would be having a field day with it. The reality, though, is we all dealt with this stuff in April. Barack Obama gave a speech that four million people watched on television, and they were basically pretty satisfied with the answer.

But what we do know is that people really actually don't want to hear about any of this stuff. They actually want to hear about somebody who's going to help solve their problems.

I was in Virginia last week where 40,000 people have lost their jobs in the last eight years. A hundred and fifty-nine thousand people last month lost their jobs nationwide.

Here in Georgia we've got hundreds of thousands of people who are going out and voting early. People actually want to vote about real issues that affect their lives.

COOPER: And yet, David, there is this tightening in some of the polls and a lot of the stuff that Palin and McCain have been talking about are issues other than the economy.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. First of all, let's take the David Duke comparison off the table. That's just wrong. I just think it's -- I can't -- I can hardly even deal with that.

We don't know why the race is slightly tightening. It's slight, but it's modest. And it's important and worth watching. It may well be that people are coming home who were naturally inclined to vote Republican. It may be a lot of reasons. It may not be this other stuff.

But I do think at this point -- John -- I don't think John McCain can go after Reverend Wright. This table is set. He took that off the table. If we were to do it now in the last few weeks, it would seem very, very desperate. It would be as if the Obama people suddenly started saying, "We want to see all the health records of John McCain. We want to see what they indicate about his age. We want to see what they indicate about cancer." That's a legitimate question, too.

But, you know, it's too late now to raise those questions. And I think it ought to be now about the big mega issues of our time. We're facing mammoth problems as a country. The next president is going to have to deal with huge problems, and the public wants to know what kind of president are you going to be. The temperament question is far more important than these questions about Wright or health records or...

COOPER: Do you think in the next coming days -- there's now this talking point about, you know, what if the liberals take over the House, the Senate, and the White House? Joe Johns is going to be looking at this later on in the program. That's something the Republicans are going to be talking about, do you think a lot in the coming days?

GERGEN: Well, I think they may be. And I do find there's a concern about it. I've met with a couple groups here in New York today, including both Republicans and Democrats. I found that among Republicans it was eating away at them. It was a big concern.

But you know, what the surprise was, that Alex Castellanos and Bill Bennett both talked in the debate that McCain ought to raise it this week. He didn't. He let it go.

COOPER: Davis mentioned it right after the debate, talking to Wolf Blitzer. But we'll see if it comes up.

David Gergen, we've got to leave it there. I'm sorry. Bay Buchanan, Jamal Simmons, always great to have you on. Thank you.

Just ahead, more on what happens if the Democrats end up sweeping the election.

Also, our "Ten Most Wanted List, Culprits of the Collapse." Tonight, we're adding a seventh name to our list, a guy who created the company that sold more subprime mortgages than anyone and made himself a lot of money.

Plus, an update on No. 2 on your list, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers, Richard Fuld. He's already testified before Congress, and now it looks like he'll be answering a lot more questions. He's going to be forced to.

And art imitating life imitating art. Tina Fey and Sarah Palin are about to have even more in common. That's coming up on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: To the political landscape as it stands tonight, the CNN electoral map there. Now if the election were held right now, based on our estimate, Barack Obama would receive 277 electoral votes, enough to become the next president.

Of course, these are just predictions. We have no way of knowing what's going to happen in 18 days. That seems like a lifetime away.

Some conservatives, as we talked about already, sounding the alarm of a seismic shift in Washington, warning that the Democrats could end up in control of Capitol Hill and the White House, even saying Democrats could get a supermajority in the Senate. We wanted to know if that really could happen and, if it did, what would it actually mean? No hype. Just facts.

Joe Johns tonight with answers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While you were distracted by the race for the White House, something unusual started happening on Main Street. Polls show Democrats could reach the holy grail of congressional politics: a big majority in the House and what's known as a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate.

(on camera) Will it happen? Not so likely, but could it happen? Absolutely. And that would mean they'd have more power and more control over the government than any time since the mid 1960s.

STUART ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: The Democrats are going to be able to change the direction of this country, but we'll have to see whether they're going to go very far or they'll decide that they have to be more delicate and more sophisticated.

JOHNS (voice-over): Stuart Rothenberg tracks this stuff for a living.

ROTHENBERG: What's happened is the financial crisis combined with overall desire for change is just benefiting Democrats across the country.

JOHNS: It's basic math. In the House there are 236 Democrats, more than enough to control the place, and they're expected to pick up more in November.

The real action is in the Senate. Out of 100 seats it's pretty much tied up right now, 49 Democrats and 49 Republicans. But two independents who caucus with the Democrats give them the edge. That means Democrats need nine more seats to get to 60, the number you need to shut down filibusters, force votes and ram through your agenda, though it's not always that simple.

ROTHENBERG: Getting 60 seats I think is a psychological win. It's important psychologically. But let's remember that it's going to be on a case by case basis, whether Republicans try to filibuster and whether Democrats can get a supermajority.

JOHNS: OK. So what's the evidence this might happen on election night? Well, a lot of Republican senators, 11, in fact, are having a pretty tough time trying to get reelected, including big names like Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina and John Sununu in New Hampshire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, experience matters. JOHNS: And it's not just them. Folks who have been around the Senate a long time now looking more vulnerable. Of course, just because they're in tough races doesn't mean they all go down.

ROTHENBERG: You have to remember in many elections when you have a wave developing, all the close races go one way. And if that happens to the Democrats, they could get to 60 or even 61 senators.

JOHNS: Which means the fight for Senate Republicans may now mean trying to hold onto their right to hold things up.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Coming up next on 360, who's to blame for the financial fiasco that's costing all of us money? We name another name to our "Ten Most Wanted List." This "Culprit of the Collapse" and his company preyed on untold numbers of homeowners. Do you know what he did to you? Find out.

And remember that woman who said Obama was an Arab? Well, she showed up yet again, sort of. This time she got a whole lot of laughs. We'll show you what she said.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That's our "Ten Most Wanted List, Culprits of the Collapse," those who helped create the crisis that's keeping millions of Americans up at night worrying about how they're going to pay their bills and hold onto their home.

There are a lot of movers and shakers who helped get us into this mess, Democrats and Republicans. And few, if any, are taking any responsibility. We think you deserve to know their names.

Tonight we add another name to our "Ten Most Wanted List," Angelo Mozilo, founder of Countrywide Financial, which made him king of the subprime mortgage market.

Here's 360's David Mattingly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When it came to the American dream, no one was better at selling it than Angelo Mozilo. As founder of the mortgage giant Countrywide Financial, Mozilo found ways to put people into houses who never thought they could afford it. Turns out many of them couldn't.

(on camera) If Mozilo was here right now, what would you say to him?

LISA MADIGAN, ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL: How dare you? How dare you put people into loans when you knew they didn't understand them, you knew they couldn't afford them, and you knew they couldn't get out of those loans?

MATTINGLY: Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan joined a suit with California against Mozilo, accusing him of directing his company to put people into risky subprime mortgages without regard for their ability to pay.

Mozilo's Countrywide became the nation's largest originator of subprime mortgages: $120 billion worth in just three years. And setting a profitable example for other companies to follow.

MADIGAN: In many ways, Angelo Mozilo, he's like one of those cartoon characters, the evil genius cartoon character who wants to dominate the world. He's been successful because in this situation we haven't had a superhero to come in and save us.

MATTINGLY: Illinois was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. In May, there were 9,670 foreclosure filings, up nearly 42 percent from last year. California, Countrywide's base, was among the worst, with in July, a staggering 1 in every 69 households foreclosed on.

JERRY BROWN, CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Countrywide is a gross example of the rip-off that we now are paying for.

MATTINGLY: In March, Mozilo told Congress the main reason for the flood of foreclosures wasn't bad loans. It was a bad economy.

ANGELO MOZILO, CEO, COUNTRYWIDE FINANCIAL: For the first time since the Great Depression, there's a nationwide deterioration in single family real estate values combined with now increasing unemployment.

MATTINGLY (on camera): An attorney for Mozilo says that Countrywide was only acting in line with the goals of both the Bush and the Clinton administrations by extending homeownership to less affluent Americans. He says the company used the tools already available to it, including subprime mortgages.

(voice-over) But California Congresswoman Maxine Waters believes Mozilo was all about profit and thrived on lax regulations.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Mr. Mozilo basically tried to have people believe that he was only helping these poor people and these minorities get into a home. That is not to be believed. He was making extraordinary amounts of money.

MATTINGLY: Mozilo retired after Bank of America bought Countrywide and put a stop to subprime loans. Mozilo defended his $44 million retirement package as deferred compensation and retirement savings from the decades he grew Countrywide.

Still, critics say he left a trail of red ink in neighborhoods across the country, and that's why Angelo Mozilo is on our list of "Most Wanted Culprits of the Collapse."

David Mattingly, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, let's make it official. Angelo Mozilo, the founder of Countrywide Financial, now joins our "Ten Most Wanted Culprits of the Collapse."

We began last week with Joe Cassano from AIG. Then there was Richard Fuld from Lehman Brothers, Chris Cox from the SEC, Senator Phil Gramm of Texas and former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, and Ian McCarthy, CEO and president Beazer Homes USA.

One more note: Richard Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers and No. 2 on our list, today we've learned he's been subpoenaed in connection with three grand jury probes into Lehman's bankruptcy filing, the biggest in American history.

He was grilled earlier this month in Congress, and prosecutors are now stepping up their investigations. They're reportedly looking into whether anyone at Lehman may have misled investors about the company's health or the value of its assets.

There's also news about another guy on our list: Joe Cassano of AIG. Congress is now demanding that AIG turn over records on his compensation and other documents. Yesterday, AIG said it was working with the New York state attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, to review Cassano's contracts and pay. We'll keep on top of that.

"The Shot" is next. Remember the woman who said Obama was an Arab at a McCain campaign stop, and McCain took the mike away from her? Well, guess what? She surfaced again, sort of, this time for laughs.

And at the top of the hour, new fireworks from the campaign trail. Palin says she likes to visit pro-America parts of the country. And Biden hits her hard for those remarks. The "Raw Politics," the back and forth when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: So Erica, are you feeling any campaign fatigue?

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Why would I feel campaign fatigue?

COOPER: I don't know why either.

HILL: I mean, 18 days? I want more.

COOPER: I actually think it's very exciting.

Last night's Al Smith dinner was welcome relief. We've got some more tonight in "The Shot."

First, Sarah Palin is scheduled to appear tomorrow on "Saturday Night Live," where she may well come face to face with herself. Tonight on David Letterman's "Late Show," Tina Fey talks about her uncanny knack for getting the details right. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TINA FEY, CAST MEMBER, NBC'S "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": She's got that crazy accent that's a little bit "Fargo." It's a little bit Reese Witherspoon in "Election."

And also, I tried to base it on my friend Paula's grandma, because her grandma was this sweet, sweet old lady from Joliet, Illinois. And she would always say, like, "Oh, this and that and stuff like that." And we would -- if you call up looking for Paula, she'd be like, "Oh, no, Paula's sleeping. So, I can't wake her. She's sleeping." And I think that might be our next...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: All right. So there's more. Remember the woman that John McCain had to grab the mike from at the rally the other day, talking about...

HILL: Indeed I do.

COOPER: ... Obama being an Arab? Well, take a look at "Saturday Night Live" last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISTIN WIIG, CAST MEMBER, NBC'S "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": I do not -- can't trust him, Obama.

SETH MEYERS, CAST MEMBER, NBC'S "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Why can't you trust Obama?

WIIG: Um, I read about him. He's a -- he's an Arab.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: I like that they got the hair right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEYERS: No. No, ma'am, he's not an Arab.

WIIG: No? No? Because I went to the library, and this little black girl helped me look up Obama on the computer pages. And let me tell you, it says he converts with terriers.

MEYERS: With terriers? No, ma'am. No, he does not do that.

WIIG: No?

MEYERS: No.

WIIG: Maybe I heard I read that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I've got to tell you, I think Seth Meyers, Kristin Wiig and Amy Poehler are like the funniest people on the planet.

HILL: They are good.

COOPER: Yes. Of course, Tina Fey, as well. And I love that they have the hair -- that woman's hair, they got perfect. Look at her eyes.

HILL: That hair, I was obsessed with the hair in that video. I've got to tell you.

COOPER: Time now for our "Beat 360" winners, our daily challenge to viewers to come up with a caption better than one that anyone on our staff could think of, meaning Joey.

Tonight's picture, John McCain and Barack Obama sharing some laughs at the Alfred E. Smith dinner last night, New York's Cardinal Edward Egan between them.

Joey's caption: "After one too many bad jokes, Cardinal Egan suddenly longs for the separation of church and state."

(SOUND EFFECT: "Oooh!")

COOPER: Our viewer winner is Michael from Chicago. His caption: "As long as you're so good at reaching across the aisle, how about passing me the ketchup?"

(SOUND EFFECT: DRUM BEAT)

COOPER: Hey, Michael, you'll be getting a "Beat 360" T-shirt...

HILL: Here all week.

COOPER: ... is on the way.

So you can check all the entries that we get on our blog, and you can play along, as well, by going to AC360.com. You know what that is, Erica?

HILL: That is our Web site.

COOPER: That is our Web site.

HILL: You can do everything there. It's an amazing little place in cyberspace.

COOPER: It truly is.

HILL: You should make it your home page.

COOPER: Any big weekend plans, Erica?

HILL: I'm going to go see "Spamalot" this weekend.

COOPER: Oh, cool. Good for you.

HILL: I'm excited about it. You?

COOPER: I'm working.

HILL: I'm working, too.

COOPER: Yes. Coming up -- oh, yes, that's right. You are working. We're both working. How sad.

Coming up at the top of the hour, days dwindling temperature rising, candidates trading attacks on the trail on issues that matter to the economy and your bottom line.

Also Sarah Palin, the real Sarah Palin, speaking out, setting off a little brouhaha between her and Joe Biden. We'll have the back and forth. "Raw Politics" and more ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight it is getting hot on the trail. Eighteen days until the election. Barack Obama, John McCain trading shots, a far cry from last night, when they were trading jokes and sharing laughs. Today each candidate reverting to type. The Republicans saying the Democrats are going to raise your taxes. The Democrat saying the Republican is going to cut your Medicare. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: When politicians talk about taking your money and spreading it around, you better hold onto your wallet.

OBAMA: Eight hundred and eighty-two billion dollars worth; $882 billion in Medicare cuts to pay for an ill-conceived, badly-thought- through health care plan that won't provide more health care to people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That wasn't the only heat. A war of words erupting between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, Palin last night implying that some parts of this country are not pro-America. Biden today using that comment to hammer Palin and John McCain. 360's Gary Tuchman is on the trail.